Alice Wambundiya overcame toughest hurdles to get access to better education

At a very young age, Alice Wamundiya was forced to flee the country of her birth, Rwanda, with her family.

Remembering life before the war, Wamundiya says her family was not rich but they lived a very comfortable life where the importance of education was emphasised. She says they had a maid and chauffeur who helped them in the house.

Her father left them behind and travelled to South Africa. On his arrival he build himself a little shack in Philippi. Later he brought the whole family to live here as well.

Through it all Wamundiya says she had hopes that she would get a chance to live a normal life and finish her studies.

Perhaps I was naive but I had ambitions of changing the world. I was quite passionate about doing something beyond my circumstances.

Alice Wamundiya

Wamundiya says it was very difficult to get into a universities. They did not cater for students like her, asylum-seekers, who had no study permits and visa she explains.

Getting into university meant breaking new grounds, fighting stereo types, red tapes and xenophobia...

Alice Wamundiya

After all the fighting to get through university, she managed to obtain a BA degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Development Studies. She is currently working on her PhD at UWC, broadly looking at Migration and Displacement under the UWC’s Centre for Humanity Research.

While studying, Wamundiya has helped form Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students together with fellow students. The organisation aims to helps other refugees and asylum-seekers with their education.

Listen to the full conversation below:


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